Loss in 1st round of playoffs last season motivates Greensburg C.C. boys

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Thursday, November 26, 2020 | 9:39 AM


The final score is all but burned into their collective mind.

Eden Christian 66, Greensburg Central Catholic 56.

And just in case it isn’t, Greensburg Central Catholic boys basketball coach Christian Hyland has a stark reminder on his office wall.

“We have the article from that loss framed above my desk,” Hyland said. “We definitely didn’t forget it. Our guys were talking about that game in fall workouts.”

The loss ended GCC’s season, Hyland’s first as head coach, in the first round of the WPIAL Class A playoffs.

GCC was the No. 4 seed and Eden the 13th. Motivation for this year is rooted in that defeat.

“We bring it up often,” Hyland said.

The covid-19 pandemic has kept the team cautious about its safety and raised awareness about what needs to happen for there to even be a season.

“We just want to do our part and do what we’re supposed to do,” Hyland said.

If GCC gets back to the playoffs, it will do so with a lot of new faces. Since last year ended with three straight losses, time has passed, players have graduated and realignment has bumped the Centurions up a class to 2A.

“There isn’t much of a difference between Class A and AA,” Hyland said. “We were Double-A when I played. Hopefully, it won’t matter much, and we’ll be right there in the mix again.”

Three starters return from a 16-7 team that shared a section title with Imani Christian. Section opponents this year are Clairton, rival Jeannette, Propel Braddock Hills, Serra Catholic and soccer rival Winchester Thurston.

Senior guards Christian McGowan (15 points per game) and Dylan Sebek (7 ppg) and junior forward Brevan Williams (13 ppg) started last year and will be the nucleus around which Hyland builds.

“We have some leadership to replace,” Hyland said. “We lost some football and soccer guys. There were some good athletes last year who translated well to the basketball court. This year we have more basketball guys. We have a bigger junior class, but we’ll still be young.”

McGowan should be a go-to scorer with Williams close behind. McGowan missed that playoff game last year because he had to sit out after transferring from Greensburg Salem. Because of the timing of his transfer, he was ineligible for the postseason.

“Christian is a really talented player,” Hyland said. “When you lose one of your top guys like that, it hurts.”

The 6-foot-3 Williams is an athletic post player who can handle the ball, rebound and defend.

Junior 6-2 forward Garrett Sherwin also figures into the rotation, along with 6-4 junior Ryan Appleby, junior guard Dante Parsons and freshman Tyree Turner.

“I think our basketball IQ will be higher as a team,” Hyland said. “We still want to play fast and get up and down.”

The Dlugos cousins, sophomore Nate and junior Danny, also could provide key minutes, along with George Rodriguez. Another freshman, Anthony Semelka, could find a place in the lineup.

“We’ll still mostly be a man-to-man team from 84 feet for most of the game,” Hyland said. “But we can change it up if we need to. There’s always stuff ready in the back pocket. Some games we might play seven guys and others, 12 or 13.”

Senior Aiden Minniti (6-4) and junior Joe Blahovec (6-3) will look to add value to the post.

“How we play and who we play could change on any given night,” Hyland said. “It depends on the team we play.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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